Some days you spend checking quality control on products, reviewing impact metrics, and typing minutes from the most recent staff meeting. And some days India puts a satellite in orbit around Mars, which leads you to discover that one of the girls in the office didn’t know that there were other planets. So instead of checking products, you spend the next hour trolling YouTube and Google Images for pictures of the solar system and videos of Neil Armstrong moon-walking. Go figure.
Being part of the lives of the iSanctuary young women, in such a consistent way sometimes means filling in the gaps where they have not previously had teachers, mentors, or sisters (Example: Space 101: Introduction to the Solar System). In some ways, this is the most difficult part of the job because it’s time-consuming and unpredictable. It seems like the days with the longest to do lists are also the days where someone has a serious problem with a roommate or needs help with logic homework. (I have NEVER taken a logic class. Sorry honey, but this homework is just as indecipherable to me as it is to you… What does “indecipherable” mean? Oi…) But on the other hand, sometimes it means you get to have great conversations about healthy dating relationships, or why eating street food can make you sick, or whether or not aliens are real.
The best part is that it works both ways of course. Not only am I able to offer my perspective into their lives, but they offer their perspective into my life as well. A life skills coach comes in once a week to spend time with the ladies in the office, and she spent time recently teaching them the importance of good nutrition. Meanwhile, the other interns and I had developed something of a bad habit of eating Maggi for lunch (the Indian equivalent of Top Ramen) on a fairly regular basis. After their nutrition class, the girls were quick to point out to us that this was incredibly unhealthy and that we should be eating only whole wheat grains as well as fruits and vegetables. I am happy to report that our eating habits have actually improved since that day.
It can be quite easy in the flurry of filling orders, market runs, and creating reports to forget the larger picture of what we are here to do - bringing wisdom, worth, and dignity. But I love the day to day moments because they are so vital to teaching and developing the characteristics we desire to instill in the young women of iSanctuary. These human interactions, the relationships with each other, are what make us who we are.
- Written By: Erin Arendse, Program Liason